CEO Wants HP to Replace Apple as “Cool” Company

Leo Apotheker, HP’s new CEO, wants his company to replace Apple when it comes to being “cool” in consumer minds. In an interview last week with the BBC (during Macworld), Mr. Apotheker was touting two upcoming announcements from his company, and he said that he wants his company to deliver a unique experience to its customers, and communicate that story more effectively.

“I hope one day people will say ‘this is as cool as HP’, not ‘as cool as Apple’,” Mr. Apotheker told the BBC. He made the case that HP was the only company in the PC space that was “equally good on the consumer side and on the [enterprise] side,” and that this would help his company change its image.

Mr. Apotheker might have his sights on Apple’s cool factor, but in September 2010, executive vice president Tom Bradley said during TechCrunch 2010 that HP wasn’t even trying to emulate Apple, saying specifically, “Emulating Apple is not part of our strategy.”

As the incoming head of the company, part of the new CEO’s job will be getting his executives in line with whatever vision he has for the company to move forward.

HP CEO Lee Apotheker

HP CEO Lee Apotheker

As suggested by Mr. Apotheker, HP is one of the most successful companies in the PC space. The company is currently generating US$126 billion in annual revenues, more than Apple (though that could conceivably change this year), but the market values HP far less than Apple. At the market’s close Wednesday, HP’s market cap was $102.7 billion, while Apple’s clocked in at $317.2 billion, making it the world’s second most valued company behind Exxon Mobil.

Mr. Apotheker comes to the company after a long search to replace Mark Hurd, who resigned in the wake of a internal sexual harassment investigation (that found he had not violated policy, but had made mistakes in judgement).

Mr. Hurd, who is now at Oracle, had lead HP to new heights in the consumer and enterprise markets, but no one in the history of technology has actually accused HP of being “cool,” making Mr. Apotheker’s goal admirable in both its ambition and audacity.